“Summer Sampler” Exhibition

Front Room Gallery

poster for “Summer Sampler” Exhibition

This event has ended.

Front Room’s 15th annual “Summer Sampler” exhibition features Sasha Bezzubov, Thomas Broadbent, Phillip Buehler, Debra Drexler, Jade Doskow, Peter Fox, Sean Hemmerle, Amy Hill, David Kramer, Jesse Lambert, Stephen Mallon, Sascha Mallon, Mark Masyga, Melissa Pokorny, Júlia Pontés, Ross Racine, Ken Ragsdale, Paul Raphaelson, Emily Roz, Ashok Sinha, Patricia Smith, Joanne Ungar, Zoe Wetherall, and Edie Winograde. “Summer Sampler” offers a selection of works previewing upcoming exhibitions and a review of past exhibitions, with a fresh look at artists’ new works.

Sasha Bezzubov’s photographs from the series “Albedo Zone” address questions of climate change through a series of large format black and white photographs taken in Arctic Alaska that deal with the “Albedo effect”. The series consists of very light images of ice, and very dark images of water, making apparent the transformation of ice from an element that cools the planet into one that warms it.

Thomas Broadbent’s naturalist approach to his large-scale watercolors presents flora and fauna from the natural world; composed with architecture, design elements and references to the human world. They are plausible scenarios, but the unlikely combination of elements, objects, and animals create surrealistic suspension of disbelief. The encounters are amicable and the animals seemingly take on the roles of their human counterparts.

Phillip Buehler has been photographing abandoned places around the world since he rowed to (then abandoned) Ellis Island in 1974. Many, like Greystone Park Hospital, have since been demolished; some, like Ellis Island and the High Line, have been restored, and some, like the S.S. United States and the New York State Pavilion, are now in jeopardy. Buehler’s most recent series turns his lens to the decline of the ‘mall culture’ and the closure of Mall retailers; leaving these, once social epicenters, vacant and shops hollowed out .

Jade Doskow’s “Lost Utopias” documents what remains of these World Fairgrounds in their profound grandeur, but also the relics of less notable attractions, which have been repurposed or left to decline. “Lost Utopias” juxtaposes emblematic monuments with abandoned, decaying structures provoking the viewer to consider how the ideals of architecture succeed or disappear into obscurity.

Debra Drexler’s paintings are informed and influenced by her mixed residences in New York and Hawaii. Her vibrant abstract compositions provoke unexpected color relationships and create spatial contradictions that come from these vibrant interactions. The luminosity and saturation in her color choices mirrors the unique quality of light and tropical color interactions in Hawai’i.

Expanding on his signature style of drip-painting, Peter Fox’s spilled paint works are bold gestural movements. Referencing formal systems of Abstract Painting, he explores the relational language of color as articulated through layered processes. Each composition is developed through variance and evolving repetition with the allowance of chance.

Sean Hemmerle is a New York based photographer whose work ranges from international conflict zones to deserted industrial towns in the United States. His conflict images span over 10 years, beginning with the World Trade Center collapse, and continuing with sites such as Kabul, Baghdad, Gaza, Juarez and Beirut. Closer to home, Hemmerle has created award-winning photographs that reflect the pathos and poetry of U.S. Rust Belt areas in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Gary, and Albany. “Adirondack Power and Light” is a former coal-burning power plant built on the Mohawk River/Barge Canal, which no longer creates power. It is a stunning vestige and stands as an emblem of the industrial decline of the United States.

Amy Hill’s artistic career and developed style have been cultivated through her intense investigations of art historical references. Through portraiture, she relates common circumstances within cross relationships in time. The paintings in “Back to Nature” address not only the culture of the 1960’s, but the fashion and political climate, the anxiety over the Vietnam War and the peace movement.

David Kramer tackles inequity and disaffection using biting humor and satirical wit. “Tired Joke” is anything but tired. While Kramer’s style may often borrow heavily from bygone eras, in this show Kramer turns the lens of his “Americana” onto America itself. The work on paper depicting a stack of tires painted with stars and stripes reads: “Tired of Winning”. It directly relates to Kramer’s installation which addresses the strength and the adaption of the American Flag by various (and often) opposing groups.

Jesse Lambert’s ink and watercolor paintings on paper depict ad-hoc structures of scrap wood, debris, bent nails, string, cloth, clothespins, discarded tools and other household implements. Evoking the universal human desire for shelter and protection, these assemblages reference domestic spaces but fail to function as those spaces normally would. In “The Center Can’t Hold” a small bird perches on a live wood branch juxtaposed against milled wood panels.

Stephen Mallon’s photographs from the series, “Next Stop Atlantic” document the creation of artificial reefs along the Atlantic Coast. In his photograph, Weeks 297, stacks of New York City subway cars sit atop a barge at sea. This unusual recycling program created artificial reefs along United States East Coast utilizing the decommissioned NYC subway cars. A solo exhibition featuring this photograph was just featured in Sea Train, Subway Reef Photograph by at the New York Transit Museum.

“Autumn Melodie” by Sascha Mallon (a companion story to ceramic installation)“The owl came to me the other day. I asked her: “What took you so long?” She told me, that she was not sure if she wanted to come back to the city, because people here seem so cold. They are chasing the shadow of a future that does not exist. Once they think they caught it, it evaporates. They run so fast, that they get all cold and they are not able to warm each other anymore.”True love makes your heart dance!” she said to me. The owl had come back, because she thought I needed a friend. “I will be fine’ I told her “I have the sun and the moon, and a lot of imaginary friends.” I took her to the forest this weekend to let her be free. On the way there she asked;” but your heart might break?” ” Don’t worry” I answered ” my heart cannot break, because it is soft.” There was a full moon smiling down from the sky tonight. The owl took off and flew a big circle in the night sky before she disappeared. It was really beautiful.”

Mark Masyga employs drawing techniques of composed and gestural lines of color, which overlap and intersect to create compelling linear abstract compositions. The sometimes coiled, sometimes kinked contours have a structure to them, which is rendered through the artist’s intuitive relationship to color and density. There is a controlled depth to the paintings’ visual surface, while the background creates an endless atmosphere in which the lines take on the feel of objects in space.

Melissa Pokorny’s constructed systems and collective actions suggest something akin to speculative biomes, or psychological landscapes. Individual works are re-collections of moments: lived, imagined, and borrowed. They are experientially derived, suggesting layered relationships based on memories of places, material affinities, un/natural phenomena, and the latent desires of objects.

Júlia Pontés is an environmental aerial photographer based in São Paulo and New York. The human and environmental impact of open pit mines and mining in Brazil are often obscured by the region’s mountainous terrain, relatively inaccessible to the local population. Working in collaboration with a pilot, Pontés has been photographing from above, sometimes flying in forbidden air space to capture these stunning images of the mining industry and increasing awareness.

Ross Racine creates his hyperreal suburban landscapes with a uniquely developed drawing method combining the languages of drawing and digital imaging. The importance of color varies greatly from image to image- some images are saturated, some are subdued, while others default to a grayscale. The decisions on color are made as each image evolves during the process of creation, and its final form is meant to reinforce a mood matching the character of the landscape.

Memories and personal recollections inform the key components of Ken Ragsdale’s works. Content and composition are determined to capture the aura of memory, working alongside schematic drawings, which are documented and prepared for hand assembly. The schematics are laboriously cut out, folded and tabbed to create their final 3-dimensional forms. As each object is placed and the structures oriented, Ragsdale modifies the scenes to perfectly frame each scenario for the final photograph.

Paul Raphaelson’s photographs of the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn document a topic of continuing controversy. Once the biggest sugar refinery in the world, the building is now a historically landmarked building standing on the Brooklyn waterfront on its way to becoming a high-rise condo, symbolizing the cultural climate in Brooklyn today.

Emily Roz’s compositions pair pattern with figure often referencing stylized depictions of botanical forms. “Wandering Jew” depicts a red polka dot clad torso, against a ground of vivid colors. An ambient reflected hue of crimson appears on the left side of the figure, while a golden yellow reflects the vivid yellow against the violet of the plant on the right side of the composition.

In Ashok Sinha’s series “New York to Los Angeles,” Sinha manages to capture the beauty and abstractions of the landscape below that often go unnoticed by millions of travelers every day. In this ongoing series, shot during commercial flights Sinha continues to take on cross continental trips between the two cities he does not use any special photographic equipment in making these images, except using a specific technique to shoot through airplane windows.

Patricia Smith is known for her idiosyncratic, cartographic explorations of the psyche and various mental states. Smith incorporates new outer and inner geographical regions in her latest works. Smith’s mappings are not exclusively anchored in external geography. She often organizes and analyzes texts, mapping their intersections with her own thoughts. The results are individualized maps of the fluid and mysterious regions of the mind.

Joanne Ungar’s pigmented waxworks preserve and embed packaging material from products that relieve physical or mental suffering. The geometric compositions are created from the folds in the boxes themselves and Ungar’s knowledgeable use of color at times subdues or exaggerates the forms.

Julia Whitney Barnes’ compositions often combine elements from the human or built environment in surreal juxtapositions with nature. In “Bricks and Stones May Break (Iceland/Stacks/Sky)” long shadows of stacked stone cairns rest beneath a vivid blue sky filled with stylized cumulus clouds.

Zoe Wetherall’s “Horses” presents an abstracted and nearly minimalist view of the American Landscape. Taken from a hot air balloon over a ranch near Woodstock, Virginia, two lone horses stand along a fenceline. Wetherall’s compositions are captured viewing straight downward, excluding the horizon, sky, or any visual reference point, which can disorient the viewer to give a renewed appreciation of the beauty of the natural landscape.

Edie Winograde’s Place and Time: Reenactment Pageant Photographs capture staged pageants, re-enactments of incidents (legendary or real) in American history presented in their original locales. May 2019 celebrates the 150 anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. This photograph “Meeting at Promotory Summit” shows the renactment of the of the dramatic completion, on 10 May 1869, of the first transcontinental railroad, which linked the Union Pacific on the east and the Central Pacific on the west.


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